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'Time' Magazine Mom Stops Breastfeeding After 4 Years, Remains Hero

by Michele Zipp on December 30, 2012 at 9:30 AM

jamie grumetWhen you agree to do anything with the media, you give up a lot of control. Which is what happened in Jamie Grumet's case. The Time magazine cover with Grumet breastfeeding her then 3-year-old son with the coverline "Are you mom enough?" was controversial and had most people completely misunderstanding what it means to be an Attachment Parent.

She followed up that Time cover wisely with an interview in Pathways to Family Wellness. The cover is a beautiful family portrait of the Grumets. Jamie is nursing Aram, the toddler who looked so big on the Time cover, and her husband Brian and adopted son Samuel are all cuddled together.

Jamie recently said that Aram, now 4, is "done" with breastfeeding. But that's not what should be the big deal here. The big deal is Jamie.

Grumet told Today:

Look, I’m not an advocate of breastfeeding, but I’m an advocate for normalizing it.

This is what makes her a hero for all moms, for all kids. Basically she's saying if you can't or don't want to breastfeed, then don't. Do what's right for you and your family. But if you are a breastfeeding mom, you shouldn't be made to feel odd about nursing your infant in public or breastfeeding your son until he's 4.

Mainstream media wants to make Attachment Parents seem like crazy, smothering freaks with a breast obsession. When it's really the general public's obsession with thinking breasts are only sexual objects that is the problem. And that is what is wrong here. Not the fact that Jamie nursed Aram until he was done. Breasts are a food source. This is just fact. Also a fact? Fifty-seven percent of Americans don't want to see women breastfeeding in public.

Despite it all, Jamie doesn't have regrets, but she did say that if she had creative control over what cover shot Time chose, she would have went with something more like Pathways to Family Wellness.

But we all know that cover wouldn't have sold as many magazines.

Jamie turned down many media opportunities after that, even saying no to a reality show because she felt it was exploitive. They wouldn't have gotten it right, anyway. Unless they had Sara Lamm and Mary Wigmore, the filmmaking mothers behind Birth Story: Ina May Gaskin and the Farm Midwives working on it.

Jamie's busy homeschooling her kids and working on The Fayye Foundation, a charity she runs to help curb the orphan crisis in Ethiopia. Her son, Samuel, was adopted from there. Jamie shouldn't be defined by that Time cover. It's just a snapshot of a moment in her life. A life that should be highly regarded.

Even though Attachment Parenting was terribly misunderstood as a result of it all, it did bring the conversation to the mainstream. If any person who wasn't in the know of what AP is all about spoke to someone who did, they learned. They saw how it is just a way to parent, and even if you don't want to parent in the same way, it should be respected. I think if everyone knew more about Attachment Parenting, they will actually see that they probably are a little bit AP, too.

If not, ever heard of live and let live? No one's getting hurt here -- this is actually something good for kids. We're not all going to be the same with the same beliefs ... even when it comes to parenting.

What do you think? Did you breastfeed longer than "society" thinks you should? Do you think people understand AP better now?

 

Image via Pathways to Family Wellness

Filed Under: breastfeeding, natural parenting, in the news

Comments

61
  • Cass
    -- Nonmember comment from

    Cass

    December 30, 2012 at 10:23 AM
    Here's a novel thought: when providing a statistic like 57 percent of people don't want to see breast feeding in public, provide the source. Don't link to three stir articles that eventually link to an ABC article that links to another ABC page with no source. The way you worded it makes it seem like people don't want to see it, but that doesn't necessarily mean they think it should be outlawed. I personally would love to not see children in public. That doesn't mean I think they should be outlawed- just that I'm going to grumble to myself every time a kid throws a tantrum or runs into me without apologizing. Nobody is saying breast feeding is bad. Some people are concerned about the psychological damage breast feeding so long that a child remembers it may cause. Stop getting so defensive and "I am nursing womyn, hear me roar". We all want what's best for your kid, if for no other reason than to keep your kid from being our hassle.
  • PonyC...
    --

    PonyChaser

    December 30, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    And the other questions you should ask are those on the other side of the fence. Because around here - in a little mini-society comprised mostly of mothers who lean more to one side than the other...

    Did you breastfeed for a shorter amount of time than "society" advocates? Is it ok to NOT be an "attachment parent"?

    Because I've received rebukes for both of those things. I only breastfed my son for about six months. And during two of those, I was supplementing with cereal. I don't think that mothers should be plopping down in the middle of an aisle in Target and whipping out a boob. Do I have a problem with them sitting in the cafe and doing it? Absolutely not. But I've been rebuked for that opinion, too.

    You're right - breastfeeding is a natural part of life, and should be treated as such. But when mothers shove their choices in my way - those who insist, for example, that it's perfectly acceptable to breast feed their baby while standing in the public pool - I'm going to shove back with the opinion that there's a time and a place for everything, and some times and some places are inappropriate.


  • bills...
    --

    billsfan1104

    December 30, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    She is not a hero.  Far from it.  I dont agree with the backlash she got, but she has to understand that maybe that was too in your face. 


  • Heather
    -- Nonmember comment from

    Heather

    December 30, 2012 at 10:40 AM
    I breast-fed all 3 of my children until they were one. And I did it privately and discreetly as a normal human being in a civilized society should. she is not a hero. She's a skank who wants the world to see her boob.
  • Sirena
    -- Nonmember comment from

    Sirena

    December 30, 2012 at 10:57 AM
    I breastfed until my daughter was nine months old, but I exclusively pumped because my girl was early and wouldn't latch. I had to stop at 6 mos because of an infection but was lucky enough to have 3 months frozen by then. After that, we used goat's milk, and she did extremely well on it.
  • Torra...
    --

    TorranceMom

    December 30, 2012 at 11:12 AM
    I could give two sh*ts about how long "society" thinks I should breastfeed my kids - "society" is not raising my children. In this house, we practice AP and child-led weaning.
  • jalaz77
    --

    jalaz77

    December 30, 2012 at 11:20 AM
    You know what was irritating about that entire piece was the it was about AP and the majority pics, if not all pics related to AP were breastfeeding pics. So to the folks who don't really know about AP they would think BFing your child til 4 or older is what you do. It's not, there is more to AP than BFing. The whole AP article was looked over because of what the photographers chose to focus on. That pic of her was in your face, I said it, in your face. I am a BFing mom, VERY much for BFing and do it it public if necessary BUT her pic just says look at me, am I amazing or what? When I nursed in public I wanted some modesty and didn't want people looking at my boobs so I did it in a way that didn't suffocate my child or expose my breast. Yes it is normal but what isn't normal is the anger in women who think whipping out a boob wherever is ok to do, where exposing your nipple and areola is normal. And really when you BF past 2yrs it's more of a mommy issue than a need for child, there are many sources of nutrition in milk and/or diet, whether it be cow or non-cow milk.
  • Laurlev
    --

    Laurlev

    December 30, 2012 at 12:44 PM
    Good for her.
  • Prisc...
    -- Nonmember comment from

    Priscilla

    December 30, 2012 at 1:06 PM
    She is an amazing woman!! Doing what nature intended her to do!! Some people these days are so caught up with conforming to what's "in" that they fail to see what the natural process of our existence. Way to go for to this momma! She is a true inspiration!! <3
  • PonyC...
    --

    PonyChaser

    December 30, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    Jalaz, wouldn't it be a novel approach for the Press to approach any subject with actual facts, and not some sensationalist spin?? They had a fantastic opportunity to show the actuality of Attachment Parenting - to perhaps dispel some of the "crazy parent" myths that are floating around out there. But instead, they go for the sensationalist picture with a kid hanging off of her boob, in a position that no sane mother would ever use, no matter WHAT side of the issue she's on. It made all breastfeeding mothers look like kooks, and completely overshadowed the AP story. I suspect that if the story was about "strict parenting", they'd make it look like a parent who incorporated spanking would be portrayed as the next "no wire hangars" mother - beating her child every time he came near her.

    I spread that out over EVERY story. The current gun control debate is the same way, as is the Fiscal Cliff. The press once was there to provide an informed, unbiased resource for facts. Now it's just a pile of one-sided crap. And I say that looking at both sides of most issues.


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